The Madison County Record May 21, 2015, 7:25am


You can bet that an asbestos plaintiff's attorney who was thinking about buying a used car would expect the dealer to inform him of any known defects in the vehicle.


If he were buying a house, you can bet that he'd expect the seller to be forthcoming about any defects in the property.


If he were considering a surgical procedure or a chemical regimen of some kind, you can bet he'd expect the doctor to provide a comprehensive list of any possible adverse consequences or side effects.


In other words, on any occasion when he himself might profit from pertinent information, you can bet that an asbestos plaintiff's attorney would endorse and insist on transparency.


Raymond Fournie of Armstrong Teasdale in St. Louis affirms that “nobody should be against transparency.” Fournie, however, is a defense attorney. Most of the plaintiff's attorneys who oppose him in court do not share his unqualified support for transparency.


Take the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act, for instance, which is currently being considered in the U.S. Congress for the third time and now stands a good chance of passage, thanks to the new Republican majority in the Senate.


Unlike much proposed legislation, mislabeled to garner support, this particular bill would do just what its name implies: further asbestos claims transparency. It would simply require claimants and their counsel to be forthright about the full extent of the compensation they're seeking and the parties from whom they're seeking it.


In other words, no double-dipping: making claims against defendants in court that are not consistent with claims made against asbestos bankruptcy trusts.


Who could be against that?


How about the archly-named national trial lawyers group, the American Association for Justice?


Why do they oppose a law promoting asbestos claims transparency? They offer various pious but implausible reasons for their opposition, because they can't openly acknowledge the real one: transparency would endanger double-dipping and that would make it harder for them to be enriched.

Organizations in this Story

American Association for Justice
777 6th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20001

Armstrong Teasdale
411 Saint Louis Street
Edwardsville, IL 62025

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